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"We’re going to try and entertain you the best we can. Which, given our track record, gives you people a 20% chance of having a good time tonight."
That's the closest thing Conan O'Brien came to a joke when addressing the attack during the Boston Marathon at the start of his opening monologue during last night's Conan. O'Brien, who is originally from Boston, sent his thoughts and prayers out to the people of Boston and anyone else affected by the senseless act.
O'Brien wasn't the only late night talk show host to address the attack during their monologue. Jimmy Kimmel expressed both sympathy and disgust when talking about the act, and then also poked fun at himself, stating, "Well, it was a terrible day. Very bad things happened today for no good reason, and our thoughts are with the people of Boston and everyone who is suffering as a result of the bombings at the marathon. It’s a disgusting thing. I don’t understand it. But my job is to make you laugh and so I will try to do that. And, I will probably fail. I’m failing already."
Meanwhile (via Deadline), Craig Ferguson spoke candidly about it, asking if anyone else was "sick of this shit." He went on to talk about addressing the topic on the show and whether or not people want to hear about it when they tune in to laugh.
I think the approach O'Brien, Kimmel and Ferguson took was the right one, especially for O'Brien and Ferguson, who have personal connections with the city. They addressed it at the start, expressed their sympathy and good wishes and then moved on to whatever they had planned for the show. Viewers who spent hours previously watching updates on the news may have been ready to give their minds a rest from the ordeal, but it would've been strange and maybe a little insensitive for them not to address it at all.